Weekly auto rail, with a look at snow and roads, Car Q&A with Junior Damato and more.

Tip of the Week


As the nation gears up for yet another snow season, it's important to remember that large snowstorms aren't just an inconvenience - they cost money. If the roads are not properly cleared of snow and ice in a timely manner, people can't get to work. If people can't get to work, they can't produce the goods and services that everyone has come to rely on every day.


The American Highway Users Alliance (www.highways.org), in conjunction with Global Insight, has released a study estimating the economic impact of snowstorms in 16 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. The study found that, in addition to the cost to clean up sidewalks, roads and buildings, hundreds of millions of dollars in economic opportunity are lost each day a state is shuttered by impassable roads because workers can't get to work. A one-day shutdown due to a snowstorm can cost a state as much as $700 million dollars.


The study also found that hourly workers are the most harshly impacted by such shutdowns, representing America's most economically vulnerable people.


The study, the Highway Users Alliance noted, gives needed perspective on the true costs of what is often thought of as harmless and fun. For state and local authorities, it could serve as a wake-up call for bigger snow removal budgets.


- ARA


The List


Gas prices have been shooting up recently. Here’s a look at some highlights this year in terms of the national average price:


$2.92: May


$2.85: Early November


$2.68: Labor Day


Did You Know


General Motors Co. recently reported that it made $2 billion in the third quarter.


Car Q&A


Q: I have a 2001 VW Cabrio with 81,000 miles. Recently a trouble light would come on calling for antifreeze. Adding antifreeze corrected the problem temporarily, but soon the level would be down again. My mechanic inspected the cooling system and could find no leaks. Any thoughts?


A: Have your technician add some dye to the coolant and then pressure test the system for a good hour, not just a few minutes. The next step is a check for any exhaust gases in the cooling system with either a gas analyzer or chemical test. There are also some factory coolant tablets to help seal the coolant system. We call it coolant stop leak.


- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist


GateHouse News Service